Thursday, January 13, 2011

Six Sigma Impact on Customer Satisfaction

There is an article in the Ezine/ that is titled "Increase Your Customer Satisfaction with Six Sigma". The article is brief and seems to make the point that the process of eliminating waste and boosting productivity has a direct relationship on customer satisfaction. While The Customer Institute agrees that eliminating waste and boosting productivity will have a positive impact on costs, the relationship to customer satisfaction is far from being clear.

One can make the case that eliminating waste and boosting productivity can reduce the costs of call center operations but will also have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. In general,maximizing productivity in a call center will have the opposite impact on customer satisfaction. Imagine a call coming in and the agent on the phone minimizes the time dealing with the customer. It is likely that the customer is going to have an decreased satisfaction with the company. The customer service industry knows from experience that there is a balance between productivity and time with the customer. Often when a customer calls in and the call is minimized, the likelihood of a call back increases dramatically thus increasing costs and reducing productivity. Probably the worst case would be to have a customer wait on the line for multiple minutes and then have the agent be friendly but very brief.

This scenario of balancing time with the customer and productivity works for almost all service-oriented businesses. Service executives have learned that each customer contact requires solving the customer problem (sales or service) and making sure the customer believes his reason for the contact has been met. There have been a number of studies that have shown that taking extra time with a customer not only increases customer satisfaction but also builds a customer relationship that increases the likelihood of additional business.

Nordstrom is an excellent example in the retail market place for the positive impact of taking extra time and not worrying about productivity. Sears is an example of a retail operation that worried maybe a little too much about productivity. Costco is a story unto itself and requires a separate blog.

The bottom line is that six sigma might work well within the brick walls of a factory but when dealing with customers directly, being lean and boosting productivity is not the solution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the wonderful posts

I'll be back later.

Thank you!



web visitor stats
OptiPlex 755 Desktops